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Are Health And Safety Regulations An Excuse For People Not Taking Reasonable Risks?



Recently in the news, the health and safety executive’s Chairman Judith Hackett stated to the BBC that “it is fed up with being cited as an excuse for preventing people from taking reasonable risks as they go about their lives”.

Why the Excuses from Employees?

1 Jobsworths -This perhaps comes as no surprise to many, as there does seem to be more ‘jobsworths’ in today’s society and workplace and could ironically be due to the actual health and safety regulations of today.

2 Not Wanting to work – Some people just quite simply do not want to do certain tasks and therefore say that they can not do that particular type of work or task as it is too ‘dangerous’ and ‘may’ get injured and would sue the company if anything does happen to them.  Therefore, the business or employer can not do much about particular individuals that decide they do not want to do the task because they may injure themselves.

Have Health & Safety Regulations Made a Rod for its own Back?

So because of all the health and safety regulations have they actually made a rod for their own back? Going back to the 1960s, ’70s and so forth there were much less health and safety regulations, there were some, but nowhere near as many as today. Also, businesses find themselves more culpable now than what they did. This is due to both changes in regulations and also that people are very quick to sue a company for whatever reason they can.

Furthermore, there are many solicitor firms now targeting and cashing in on accidents at work by supplying a specialized service in this industry. Solicitor firms that specialize in the suing of businesses on behalf of their client’s accidents at work are encouraging people to claim compensation and the fact that it is no win no fee, doesn’t help either.

Solicitors only take on the cases that are most likely to get them to win; however, this is becoming more likely due to the tight rules and regulations that are in place for the working environment and in a way are not really helping itself.

Yes, there should be health and safety at work laws, etc to protect employees, but health and safety should not be used as a scapegoat by companies or individuals for reasoning against a certain process or activity.